Sheriff Manning Responds To Lawsuit

Pitt County Sheriff Mac Manning is firing back after a lawsuit filed in U.S. district court alleges a law enforcement cover up, and insufficient investigation by his office.

Sheriff Manning says the allegations in the lawsuit are completely false and without merit. The suit accuses the sheriff's office of not investigating the death of deputy Michelle Pollard's husband to its fullest after he was found dead in a swimming pool at their home November 2005. The suit, filed by the victim's mother, alleges deputy Pollard pushed her husband, Stacey Pollard in the pool.

Sheriff Manning says their investigation showed he was not taking the correct dosage of seizure medication and fell in the pool after suffering from a seizure. The suit also calls into question why the SBI was not called in immediately. Manning says he felt like the findings of accidental death by his office, the district attorney and the medical examiner were sufficient. Manning says, "There was no need to contact the SBI. There was not, in our minds, conflict of interest because to begin with, there was no allegation of a crime. We were simply documenting what was in fact a very tragic, accidental death and we were just simply documenting that for future reference because it was involving one of our officers. I am absolutely confident in the evidence that was collected and in the reports that were written."

Sheriff Manning says his office has not actually been served with the lawsuit from federal officials yet, but has received copies from the plaintiff's lawyer. Manning says one reason for this could be the district court is reviewing the suit first.